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A Nightmare On Elm Street

A Nightmare On Elm Street was the first in a series of horror films that were exceptionally popular in the 1980s. The central character of the films is supernatural serial killer Freddy Krueger, played by Robert Englund. Krueger is able to attack and kill people through their dreams and does with considerable violence and gore. This debut film featured actress Heather Langenkamp as a teen named Nancy who lives on the titled Elm Street. It is revealed that in the past a serial killer (Krueger when he was still alive) was burned to death by the parents of his child victims. He comes back at night and attacks teenagers in their dreams. Eventually Nancy finds the strength to confront Krueger in the dream realm and successfully asserts that he can never hurt her because it's "only a dream".

The original film was directed by Wes Craven and remains amongst his most famous features. A Nightmare on Elm Street was followed by five sequels culminating in Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare (1992). Craven was largely not involved in these sequels, but did receive a producer credit for Part III. In 1994, Wes Craven returned to the series with Wes Craven's New Nightmare, in which Krueger appeared in (a fictionalised version of) the real world, plaguing Craven and the actors who had appeared in the original film.

As the series progressed the films got gorier as new, creative ways were found to slaughter teenagers. The series managed to feature many up-and-coming young performers before their rise to fame (notably Johnny Depp and Patricia Arquette). Eventually a declining interest in gory slasher films led to the series' fade in popularity. Though the films still make profit when released, they have never matched the success they found in the first three.

Over the years Freddy has become a cult figure with his burnt face, red and green striped sweater, brown hat and the metallic glove with sharp knife blades attached to the fingers. In the original film Krueger was a nearly silent, remorseless killing machine. As the series progressed, Krueger became a progressively more wise-cracking, black-humoured character - frequently making a short witticism as he dispatches each victim. Part 5 represents the zenith of this trend. A constant feature throughout the series of eight films has been the nursery rhyme which Krueger's victims hear in their dreams shortly before being confronted by him. To the rhythm of One, Two Buckle My Shoe it runs

''One, two, Freddy's coming for you
''Three, four, better lock your door
''Five, six, grab a crucifix
''Seven, eight, better stay up late
Nine, ten, never sleep again!

In 2003 the Krueger character was pitched against Jason Voorhees from the popular Friday the 13th film series. It opened on August 15 and was immediately the most financially successful film in either series. It cost $25 million to make and grossed $47 million in its opening weekend. Englund suggested in an interview that a further sequel may be planned. Further a script entitled A Nightmare On Elm Street: The First Kills describing Krueger's 'real-life' years set before the time of the first film is currently under review by New Line Cinema.